- National Socialist black metal
National Socialist black metal Stylistic origins Black metal Cultural origins Early 1990s, Europe, Germany, Ukraine, Finland Typical instruments Vocals - Electric guitar - Bass guitar - Drums Mainstream popularity Underground
National Socialist black metal (also known as NSBM) is black metal that promotes National Socialist (Nazi) beliefs through their lyrics and imagery. These beliefs often include: white supremacy, racial separatism, antisemitism, heterosexism, and Nazi interpretations of paganism or Satanism. According to Mattias Gardell, NSBM musicians see "national socialism as a logical extension of the political and spiritual dissidence inherent in black metal".
Bands whose members hold Nazi beliefs but do not express these through their lyrics are generally not considered NSBM by black metal musicians, but are labelled as such in media reports. Some black metal bands have made references to Nazi Germany purely for shock value, much like some punk rock and heavy metal bands.
According to Christian Dornbusch[who?] and Hans-Peter Killguss[who?], völkisch pagan metal and neo-Nazism are the current trends in the black metal scene, and are affecting the broader metal scene. Mattias Gardell, however, sees NSBM artists as a minority within black metal.
Varg Vikernes of Burzum is generally seen as the main person to have brought Nazism into the black metal scene. According to an interview in Blood & Honour magazine, he got in touch with neo-Nazi organisation Zorn 88’s (later called Norges Nasjonalsocialistiske Bevegelse [NNSB]) magazine Gjallarhorn in 1992 and joined White Aryan Resistance before he murdered Øystein Aarseth. Although his lyrics do not express Nazi ideology and his music is therefore not seen as NSBM by the scene (but by external sources, like Mattias Gardell) his writings are part of its ideological fundament. Furthermore, he has applauded NSBM bands for having "the guts to be different and politically incorrect, unlike the spineless poser-bands in the 'Black Metal' scene". He has posted some arguably racist essays on the Burzum website. However, Vikernes has since tried to distance himself from Nazism and the NSBM scene, preferring to refer to himself as an odalist instead of a "socialistic", "materialistic" Nazi. He still maintains his support of what he labels "race hygiene" for the European peoples.
NSBM ideology usually consists of Nazi beliefs as well as traits found in conventional black metal, such as hostility to Christianity and other religions labelled as Right-Hand Path, and preoccupations with Satanism and paganism, often with Nazi interpretations. The ideology may hearken to the preoccupations with paganism and esotericism practised by various officials and organisations in the Nazi era, such as Alfred Rosenberg and Thule Society. Hendrik Möbus of Absurd described Nazism as the "most perfect (and only realistic!) synthesis of satanic/luciferian will to power, elitist Social Darwinism, connected to Aryan Germanic paganism". Members of the band Der Stürmer (named after the anti-Semitic newspaper edited by Julius Streicher) subscribe to esoteric Hitlerism, leaning on the works of Savitri Devi and Julius Evola.
Anti-Christianity and Anti-Semitism
Typically NSBM musicians regard Christianity as a product of an alleged Jewish conspiracy to undermine the Aryan race by eliminating their Artglauben and their "original" culture. These musicians usually reject the legitimacy of Christian antisemitism as well as the German Christians movement, which celebrated and promoted Nazi ideology in the context of an unorthodox Christian theological framework. Hjarulv Henker of the band Der Stürmer said:
I don't think that a dogma like Christianity has a place in Aryandom. There is no way to make Christianity fit into the Weltanschauung of the Aryan Overman. Christianity teaches humbleness, the loss of National and Racial identity, and equality, things alien to our cosmotheory. You cannot combine Jesus with characters who represent Aryan ethics. ... Christianity is Christianity and it is Jewish by its very birth and conception, a vehicle in the Jewish world domination and designed as such.
NSBM bands want to bring back the alleged ancient values and highlights of Germanic "Hochkultur" (the cultures of the ancient Greeks and Romans). They argue that the reason for the decline of these ancient cultures was "race mixing" and "degeneration". These views are comparable to those in the chapter "Volk und Rasse" in Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
Whereas Nazi leaders were influenced by German nationalism (Hitler deemed certain groups such as some Slavs to be inferior), the NSBM scene has had its German and Polish activists work together from the very beginning, though Germany and Poland historically had conflicts. This contradiction is either masked, relativised or excused as a historical mistake. A conspiracy theory says the Jews would have prevented an alliance between Nazi Germany and other Eastern European countries. Knjaz Varggoth, singer and guitarist of the Ukrainian band Nokturnal Mortum, gives the following explanation for the contradiction: "Goruth of the Russian band Temnozor sees the Slavs and Germans as a part of a Hyperborean Aryan race and nowadays differing due to its degeneration." Para Bellum of Blackdeath (and formerly of Draugwath) sees Nazi Germany’s war against Russia as "Hitler’s only mistake".
Besides heathen beliefs, part of the NSBM scene embraces an interpretation of Satanism, depicting Satan as an ancient Aryan counterpart to Yahweh, the god of the Jews and Christians. This view is often called "völkisch Satanism" or "Aryan Satanism". Chraesvelgoron of The True Frost sees Nazism as the political appearance of Satanism and the collective deification of man as a social animal, as godliness instead of humaneness. His bandmate Sadorass calls the same ideology a consequent development of blood and soil (völkisch way), diverse occult teachings and the ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche in connection to Darwin's evolution theories.
However, many pagan and far right bands see Satanism as a part of Christianity or Judaism. Also, a few black metal musicians hold pagan bands in contempt, and do not recognise them as black metal bands, as their lyrics and ideology does not include Satanism.
Most NSBM bands refer to Nazi notions such as blood and soil, the worship of their alleged ancestors, or a mixture of Pagan and Nazi elements. For example, the booklet of the Absurd album Asgardsrei depicts the Knights Templar, the Teutonic Knights and the Waffen-SS as warriors of the "Asgardsrei", which the bands define as a term for an alleged godly and Germanic group of warriors. Varg Vikernes of Burzum called Adolf Hitler a warrior of the Asgardsrei. Hendrik Möbus interprets church burnings in Norway as
a cultural atavism, a sudden and inexplicable plunge back into pre-Christian, medieval conditions in all but outward reality. Like the Swiss psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, would have said: Ancient archetypes resurfaced from our collective unconscious and repossessed receptive minds - which were, as a rule, still developing and thus especially impressible. The thus affected teenagers found themselves with an archaic state of mind and like in a mass-hysteria, they induced their condition unto others. It goes without saying that a, say, 18 year old adolescent who suddenly felt out of tune with his environment lacked the insight for a self-analysis.
He argues that later on, they would have realised the meaning of these emotions, begun to identify with Paganism and taken "an active interest in Nationalist politics designed to preserve and to cultivate this very heritage".
NSBM and the broader white nationalist movement
While many white nationalists have warmly received NSBM for its lyrical content and ideals, others have not, due to the music style as well as what they perceive as its association with sex, drugs and rock & roll. Some also reject black metal musicians and fans for having long hair, which they associate with hippies and left-wingers.
William Luther Pierce, founder of the white nationalist National Alliance, sought to promote NSBM as well as other forms of white nationalist music through Resistance Records, believing that music would 'make the National Alliance rich and spread its message most effectively'. To this end, he accommodated Absurd frontman Hendrik Möbus while the latter had fled to the United States in order to evade German authorities. Although Pierce appreciated the ideological mindset of NSBM and Resistance Records, as well as the financial gains, the music did not personally appeal to him, and he attacked the "sex, drugs & rock'n'roll" and "negroid" influences.
NSBM and the broader black metal scene
NSBM artists are a minority within black metal, according to Mattias Gardell. They have been rejected or strongly criticised by many prominent black metal musicians – including Jon Nödtveidt, Tormentor, King ov Hell, Infernus, Lord Ahriman, Emperor Magus Caligula, and the members of Arkhon Infaustus.
Many black metallers reject Nazi ideology and oppose its influence on the black metal subculture. Like organised religion in general, Nazism is regarded as authoritarian, collectivist, and a "herd mentality". This ideology conflicts with black metal's traditional focus on individualism. It also conflicts with the misanthropic views of many artists – this is because Nazism demands a great respect for the "white race", rather than disdain for all humanity. While some black metallers boycott NSBM bands and labels, others draw a line between the music and the musicians, as they only care for the music. This stance has been criticised as passive support for NSBM.
The band Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult claimed that they share "certain views of so-called NSBM bands" but stated that "there will never ever be any of this misuse within our ranks. We do not want to have anything to do with this newest trend". According to them, politics in black metal is "as inappropriate as black metal concerts at daylight". Darkthrone have also maintained an apolitical stance throughout their career – although Fenriz claimed he was once arrested while participating in an anti-apartheid demonstration. Joakim of Craft says that "I don't think national socialism mixes with the ideology of real Black Metal in a way, but that doesn't go further than labels. I only think NS Black Metal is an inappropriate label for the music".
The bigger print metal magazines tend to ignore records by NSBM bands. The book Unheilige Allianzen caused a short debate, leading Legacy magazine to stop printing advertisings for NSBM labels. Another debate happened in the "letters" section of Rock Hard magazine following the article Der rechte Rand im Black Metal (Black Metal's Far-right Border).
The band Marduk was accused of supporting Nazism after the release of their album Panzer Division Marduk (1999). This was because the songs on the album made numerous references to World War II and because the album title referenced Nazi Germany's panzer divisions. However, the band stated that they were simply using war as a lyrical theme and denied supporting Nazism, although its guitarist Morgan Håkansson had stated "that we in Marduk want to prevent immigration to Sweden and that I was proud over the fact that my grandfather was a serving German officer during the second World War" when approached on the issue by Rock Hard Magazine from Germany - known for having pressed many black metal bands such as Gorgoroth on the subject of NSBM.
Similarly, the Singaporean band Impiety were accused of supporting Nazism and anti-Semitism due to their depiction of Auschwitz and the practices of Josef Mengele in the lyrics of the song "Carbonised" on their album Paramount Evil (2004).
There are also bands who say they use Nazi imagery simply for shock value. An example is the band Taake, whose singer had painted a swastika on his chest before a concert on March 20, 2007, in Essen, Germany and attacked the audience. He later claimed to have done so only to be provocative. On the same occasion, he called the club owner an "Untermensch".
The pagan metal groups Moonsorrow, Týr, and Eluveitie have been occasionally labeled as Nazi influenced or supportive by anti-fascist groups. The groups have stated publicly that they believe in peace, are non-political, and strongly oppose the co-opting of pagan symbols by Nazi activists.
- Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke: White Noise and black metal in: Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity (S. 193-213). New York University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-8147-3124-4
- Mattias Gardell: Hail Loki! Hail Satan! Hail Hitler! Darkside Asatrú, Satanism and Occult National Socialism in: Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism. (p. 284-324). Duke University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-8223-3071-7
- Michael Moynihan, Didrik Søderlind: Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground. Los Angeles, Feral House Books, 1998, ISBN 0-922915-48-2
- Christian Dornbusch, Hans-Peter Killguss: Unheilige Allianzen. Black Metal zwischen Satanismus, Heidentum und Neonazismus. Münster, Unrast Verlag, 2005, ISBN 3-89771-817-0
- Johannes Lohmann, Hans Wanders: Evolas Jünger und Odins Krieger - Extrem rechte Ideologien in der Dark-Wave- und Black-Metal-Szene in: Christian Dornbusch, Jan Raabe: RechtsRock - Bestandsaufnahme und Gegenstrategien. (p. 287-311) Hamburg/Münster, Unrast Verlag, 2002, ISBN 3-89771-808-1.
- ^ a b c Mattias Gardell, Gods of the Blood (2003), p.307
- ^ 
- ^ Unheilige Allianzen, page 290
- ^ a b Unheilige Allianzen, page 277
- ^ Michael Moynihan, Didrik Søderlind: Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground. Los Angeles, Feral House Books, 1998, p. 303
- ^ Berliner Zeitung article from 1996
- ^ Mattias Gardell, Gods of the Blood (2003), p.vii
- ^ [Interview with Varg Vikernes (12.08.2004), by BG]
- ^ Varg Vikernes - A Burzum Story: Part VII - The Nazi Ghost
- ^ http://www.burzum.org/eng/library/a_burzum_story07.shtml Varg Vikernes - A Burzum Story: Part VII - The Nazi Ghost
- ^ "The mental hygiene and race hygiene practiced by the ancient Europeans also was disrupted by the introduction of Christianity." Paganism: Part VI - Hygiene In The Pagan Era
- ^ Stormblast, Nr. 2-3, 1999, citation taken from ak - analyse & kritik - zeitung für linke Debatte und Praxis / Nr. 428 / 8.7.1999
- ^ a b Der Stürmer interview published in LEGEONES magazine
- ^ a b ak - analyse & kritik - zeitung für linke Debatte und Praxis / Nr. 428 / 8.7.1999
- ^ Interview mit Varg Vikernes
- ^ Unheilige Allianzen, page 239
- ^ Unheilige Allianzen, page 250
- ^ Medieval Tortures, No. 3, published around 2000, p. 39. Citation taken from Unheilige Allianzen, page 250
- ^ Wintry Night Nonstop/Aenaon Skotos Anosion, published around 2000: Frost/Sadorass [Interview with Sadorass]. Citation taken from Unheilige Allianzen, page 202
- ^ Szene-Almanach 1998, page 48
- ^ Strength through War, issue 4, Summer 2003, o.S.: Frost. Interview answered by Chraesvelgoron. Citation taken from Unheilige Allianzen, page 202
- ^ Flagellation, No. 2, 2001, page 29. Citation taken from Unheilige Allianzen, page 203
- ^ Gammadion, No. 1, 1997, o.S.: Capricornus. Citation taken from Unheilige Allianzen, page 241
- ^ Varg Vikernes interview in Greek Metal Hammer
- ^ a b „National Socialist Black Metal“ von Hendrik Möbus, mirrored on Archive.org
- ^ Unheilige Allianzen, page 280
- ^ William Pierce - Obituaries, News - The Independent
- ^ Decibel Magazine
- ^ a b DISSECTION. Interview with Jon Nödtveidt, June 2003
- ^ a b Metal Heart 2/00
- ^ Interview with JOTUNSPOR :: Maelstrom :: Issue No 50
- ^ BLABBERMOUTH.NET - GORGOROTH Guitarist INFERNUS: 'I Personally Am Against Racism In Both Thought And Practice'
- ^ a b c d Zebub, Bill (2007). Black Metal: A Documentary.
- ^ YouTube - Dark Funeral - Interview (Episode 276)
- ^ Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult interview in Explosion Cerebral Zine, 2004
- ^ Interview in Final War, 2003
- ^ Interview with Joakim from Craft on voicesfromthedarkside.de
- ^ Mühlmann, Wolf-Rüdiger: Der rechte Rand im Black Metal. In: Rock Hard, No. 241, June 2007
- ^ Nordic Vision mag no. 3
- ^ Rock Hard - Germany - May 2006 - Gorgoroth Interview
- ^ IMPIETY - Voices from the Dark Side
- ^ Fotografie des Konzerts in Essen
- ^ “Statement from Hoest”
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=3Xr1iWvL4A0
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